Recently a journalist named Jeff Salamon contacted me about to get a feel for what I though about Aaron Allston’s books; I never heard back from him but I recently googled him and found this article in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. Nice to know he did get his piece out there. This is what I sent him earlier in May:
On Star Wars Expanded Universe
The expanded universe (or everything other than the films) is very similar to a religious mythology. There are many interesting story arcs, all intersecting at various places but not necessarily consistent among themselves. The books have always answered the fan’s eternal question of ‘I wonder what happened to that guy’; taking their cue from the films to develop an entire supporting mythology.
All of this was true until the New Jedi Order series. When it became clear that Lucas was never going to pursue a post-Return of the Jedi trilogy, the New Jedi Order was commissioned as an independent series of books.
Aaron Allston was given control of the X-Wing series after Michael Stackpole gotten it off to a flying start. This was a difficult task because he was handed the reins of an already successful series. On the other hand, Allston had a much more interesting job than a lot of other Expanded Universe writers. The components of the series were almost entirely parallel to the films and came with very little baggage associated with characters and story arcs from the films. He had to fit in with Stackpole’s voice and imagery; not necessarily that of Lucas.
My favorite book of his is X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar where he has mastered the quick banter between the pilots which makes it unique and still fits in to the ‘Han Solo mode’ of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is also a clever and fast moving plot; it is almost as though Allston got the hang of things by the end of the series. In fact, his books have consistently improved through the series; each one better than the one before.
This trademark humor of his is evident even in his subsequent New Jedi Order ‘Enemy Lines’ books. His NJO books, in fact, brought that series closer to the films in many respects; his handling of Leia’s character, the humor and bringing the dark side back in to the picture.
Overall, Aaron Allston has grown as a writer as his career with Star Wars has progressed.
Let me know if you want clarification, expansion or anything else!